The main surprise of this chilli is the depth of flavour and what is used to achieve this; dark beer, coffee and cocoa!
As a side note, I always chuckle when people rate a recipe without first trying it "as-written" and then say it isn't good. With this recipe in particular, following the instructions at least once is lesson in learning you won't regret. We were very impressed with this chili. We did make it as written, the only variable being the "dark beer" we selected (since the recipe doesn't specify a brand). We chose not to use Guiness and used a locally brewed dark that's a bit less sweet since previous reviews had suggested that the recipe had too much sugar. I'd have to agree. Next time we make it (and it was good enough that there will be a next time!), we'll cut back on cocoa and just a bit on the sugar, as other reviewers suggested. That said, as-is, it's an excellent recipe. I strongly encourage you to make it exactly as written first, so you know what adjustments you need to suit your taste--it's not "too" anything--it has a nice mix of sweet and spice and it's hard to say how much you'll need to adjust to suit your taste. The balance of flavors is really quite impressive. In other regards, the texture, consistency, and ratio of meat & beans is just right. - 19 Dec 2002 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
I made this recipe for an informal chili "contest" among friends and was disappointed that the flavor was too sweet. However, when I pulled the leftovers out of my refridgerator the next day, the flavors had mingled and mellowed into something I can only describe as fantastic! If you're making the chili to eat the same day, decrease the sugar, by all means. But if you've got the time, let the pot chill; the result is well worth the wait. - 26 Dec 2002 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
absolutely amazing...I've actually been making this chili since last fall, but haven't rated it. as the weather has been a bit like fall here, it was time to bring out the famed chili recipe. three people stopped by sunday and decided to stay for dinner after sticking their fingers in the pot....they're still talking about it! I only use 1 chili pepper and 1 TBLSPN chili powder so it's not so spicy. I use guiness beer, espresso, 1 large can kidney beans, 1 large can pinto beans, and 1 small can black beans instead of entirely kidney. I teamed it with the amusement park cornbread recipe on this site...another fabulous find! thank you, thank you! - 21 Aug 2002 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)